Syria: Yarmouk refugee camp lies in ruins as 'IS' advances

Fresh pictures from the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus show the extent of the damage in the war-torn area of the Syrian capital. Many of the houses are destroyed and abandoned as fighting continues in the district. Members of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) have reportedly taken control of large areas of the camp, located some 6 km (3.70 miles) from the residence of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. The IS has reportedly seized around 90 percent of the Yarmouk camp from rivals - such as the Hamas affiliated Aknaf Beit al-Madqis - which has also been fighting against the Syrian government. There are also reports circulating that the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra front facilitated the arrival of IS into Yarmouk, though they have purportedly claimed neutrality in the battle for control of the camp. The United Nations estimates that around 18,000 civilians are trapped inside Yarmouk, including a large number of children. Prior to the Syrian conflict, the camp was home to around 160,000 Palestinian refugees. The Syrian army has evacuated many of the refugees from the camp, including 2,000 last Sunday.